Some Questions that Matter in Women’s Health

National Health Blog Post Month Day 19 – Monday, Nov. 19 
Questions I have for for other patients 
I mean the following questions with all sincerity. Maintaining an active an healthy lifestyle has been lifelong and nearly every job I have ever held bears this out: lifeguard, swimming instructor, group and personal fitness instructor, and physical therapist. I was involved in women’s health promotion even before physical therapy school and then began my PT career stumping for women’s health out of the gate. By the time I became a mom, I already had a commitment to preserving my pelvic health and overall physical function during pregnancy and restoring it to the best of my ability postpartum. This perspective (self-brainwashing, perhaps?), however leaves me yearning to hear from women on the following truths and dilemmas that stand in the way of meaningful change in the landscape of female pelvic health.

So here are my questions for women who may have experienced a symptom or two of pelvic health dysfunction (and ladies, 1 in 3 of us do!):

1. Why you feel embarrassed to express your pelvic health concerns (such as pain during sex and incontinence) even to your health care provider?

2. Why do you (women) wait so long to seek care (8-12 years on average)?

3. If advised to do so, would you be open to changes in care perinatally (during pregnancy and postpartum)? What would convince you to do this? What do you see are barriers?

4. Where do you turn for info and where do you want to find accurate info?

The answers to these questions matterbecause lives are really being affected everyday by what conversations aren’t taking place and what actions aren’t carried out in women’s health care at the moment. Let’s do this!

One thought on “Some Questions that Matter in Women’s Health

  1. I think a lot of the constant societal bombardment we endure, of images of what “perfect” should be, shapes a lot of question 1. Everything from soap to potato chips is now sold in a TV commercial with sex. Seriously, there’s a pretty lady making sexy-faces over a bag of Lay’s potato chips in a TV spot. If you don’t absolutely love and constantly crave sex as much as the potato chip lady, you aren’t right. It really makes us feel like we’re doing something wrong.

    Combine it with asking a doctor in passing and being completely dismissed and devalued once, and you wait a long time before you ask someone again.

    The prevalence of jokes and expressions about incontinence also make it feel like “what, you aren’t even potty trained?” Like rather than a functional problem or injury (“what, you can’t walk on that broken leg?”) it’s something you’re doing wrong. Phrases like “s*** the bed” in reference to things going wrong grate on someone who suffers from bowel problems similarly to other ableist terms grating on the physically or mentally handicapped.

    I think also the perception that there isn’t much to be done about it encourages people not to overcome that bit of embarrassment. There’s also an issue that our expectations of embarrassment are generally far worse than the reality.

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